By DG99 Slate

Kara Casten, Don Renner and Ken Dawson are running for the three open seats on the D99 School Board. They are coordinating their campaign and calling it ‘Educational Excellence for D99’ because they have similar views about D99 and public education.

  • They believe all students should feel welcome in D99 and see themselves represented in the curriculum, teachers and extracurricular activities.
  • They trust educators to lead curriculum decisions. The Downers Grove Education Association, the union that represents D99 teachers, voted to support Kara, Don and Ken.
  • They want to understand the root causes of declining test scores over the last 5 years in D99 and work collaboratively with D99 and the community to address the reasons for this regional, state and national trend.
  • They support efforts to engage more D99 students in extracurricular activities, which are proven to contribute to student achievement and overall well-being.
  • They want to work with the community and the D99 School Board to restore respect, trust, and support during discussions and meetings.

Kara Casten, Don Renner and Ken Dawson hope to have the opportunity to bring their diverse backgrounds and professional experience to the D99 School Board. Kara is an assistant vice president at Kemper Insurance. Don is a partner at the law firm of Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, Ltd. Ken is a customer experience professional at Trader Joe’s. They all have over 20 years of experience in their respective professional fields. Additionally, they are parents of DGS and DGN graduates, current students and future students. They are active parent volunteers in D58 and D99 schools and have served on numerous community boards that support education, health, and sports.

Six candidates are running for three open seats on the D99 School Board. It is up to voters to decide who is fit to serve on the D99 School Board. Research all candidates carefully before deciding who you want to lead your schools. Here are some things to know about the other candidates:

  • Sought to ban books at D99 libraries that address sexual activity
  • Claimed the D99 Superintendent ‘stacked the deck’ against opposition to banned books
  • Called for the resignations of 3 School Board member over their votes against banning books
  • Challenged D99’s sexual education curriculum
  • Distributed misinformation about D99 test scores and how they’re measured

To learn more about the Educational Excellence for D99 candidates go to or look up ‘d99slate’ on Facebook and Instagram. Mail ballots are sent out on Feb 23. Early voting starts March 20. Election day is April 4.